Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Reiganji Temple and the Monk who Brought Tea to Kyushu (Kurogi, Fukuoka Prefecture)

Long time ago, a wandering Chinese monk traveled to Japan, bringing with him tea seeds. Before then, there were no tea plantations in the country. He loved the remoteness of the mountain that he eventually stayed to start a tea farm in Kurogi's fertile soil. Soon thereafter, tea plantations spread across the land. So goes the story behind Japan's favorite tea. It was indeed adjudged as the country's best tea for 9 consecutive years by the Department of Agriculture.

Reiganji Temple was built by the Chinese monk. It rises on a hillock teeming with lush vegetation. There are stone lanterns at the front. If you wander to the back, a flight of stairs lead to a trail  to the top of the mountain where odd-rock formations take different shapes. 

The drive to Reiganji Temple was a bit tense due to heavy rains. It didn't help that the roads, though beautifully paved, were sinuous. It took about 30 minutes to get from the border of Kurogi to the mountain site where the temple is. On a good day, you can enjoy the green scenery all over, with tea plantations in most parcel of land - this is the iconic symbol of Yame!

Buddhist pilgrimages include the Reiganji Temple as a final terminus in a pilgrim's itinerary. Wherever it rains, locals call the roads authority to check whether there are road blocks and land slides, so it is advisable to do the same if foreign visitors are planning a visit.  

Reiganji is one of the most beautiful temples I have seen in all of Japan, owing to its location amidst lush vegetation, making it seem like a set of a fairy tale. Every element of natural beauty came together here.

The Chinese monk who started to plant tea in Fukuoka.

You can hike up the mountain to see the rock formations.

#reiganjitemple   #tea   #kyushu   #fukuokaprefecture   #yamecity   #japan

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